Appreciating the state government's decision to set up the 'Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum' here, retired top brass of the defence services on Wednesday stressed the need for a national war memorial.
Addressing the gathering at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the monument here, former army chief Gen Shankar Roy Choudhary said, "It is a very good initiative of the Punjab government. This is a very big recognition for all those who laid their lives for the nation."
He added, "We have been demanding a national war heroes memorial since long but not much has happened on that front. So I want to say from here that till the time the Centre chooses to build a national memorial, this upcoming memorial shall be recognised as the national memorial."
Former Army Chief Gen JJ Singh said, "Punjab is not only a land of five rivers. It is land of warriors and martyrs and thus it was very important to remember their blood and sacrifices laid for the nation. There are certain demands we have been raising with the Centre, including a national war heroes memorial. Now that Punjab has started work in this regard, it is important that we have a national memorial as well very soon."
Gen Singh also talked about the youth of Punjab and their potential. He appealed to the youth of the state to stay back in own country, ending the ongoing craze among them to settle abroad .
"It is so disheartening to see Punjabi youth doing low profile jobs abroad and not doing respectful jobs in their own country. Why don't they join defence and live and die with honour?" he wondered.
Brigadier (retd) Kuldip Singh Chandpuri also said, "I feel the Punjab Chief Minister has taken a great initiative. But such a memorial must not be confined to this state only. It is good that Punjab has done it and taken the lead. Now it is time that other states too have such war memorials and museums."
Maha Vir Chakra awardee Brig Narinder Singh Sandhu, said, "This war memorial will narrate the war history from the times of Banda Singh Bahadur (great sikh warrior and martyr of Khalsa army) to the Sikh Gurus who sacrificed their lives and then the wars of 1947, 1962, 1965 and 1971 and 1999. It a great initiative by Punjab. In fact, there should be a national war heroes memorial in every country."
Col PS Dhillon, serving with 50 armed regiment, also echoed the sentiment and called for a national monument in this regard.